Archive for the ‘Co-parenting’ Category

Unspoken truth comes from unlikely source

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

On Two and a Half Men the other night there was a touching scene, at least by Two and a Half Men standards, between long-time co-stars Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones that probably resonated with every divorced parent watching the program.

In reality, producers have demoted Jones and his character Jake to recurring status for the show’s upcoming 11th season. To explain his absence as a regular from the program, the writers have Jake, who is now in the Army, transferring to a base in Japan for one year. Before shipping out, Jake goes home one last time to see his Dad, Alan.

Father and son take a road trip and during the trip Jake admits that while he initially blamed Alan for the divorce from his Mom, he now realizes that the breakup wasn’t all Alan’s fault. Alan, touched by the gesture, thanked his son but indicated he wasn’t going to say anything bad about his ex-wife.  Jake replied, “Yea, but you probably hope I do.”

How many of us announce we are taking the high road by saying, “I’ll never say anything bad about Mom/Dad,” but secretly want the child to say something bad instead? Maybe we need a little validation or reassurance. Whatever the reason, if you’re honest you’ll admit you’ll take whatever putdown your child is willing to offer.

Mother’s Day is tomorrow. Father’s Day is next month. This year on Mother’s and Father’s Day give your children a present instead of expecting one. Don’t say anything bad about your ex, and don’t send them the unspoken message that you hope they say something bad instead.

Holiday miracle gives hope to alienated parents

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Whether you believe in the miracle of Christmas, Hanukkah or the Miracle on 34th Street, you hear the word “miracle” a lot this time of year. Many alienated parents pray for a very specific miracle during the holiday season – the miracle of reunion.

Zach White of Birmingham, Alabama knows a little something about miracles. Zach was alienated from his father when he was two years old. Nineteen years later, a holiday miracle brought father and son together. They’ve been together ever since, but in order to appreciate where Zach and his father are today, you should know where they’ve been.

In all honesty, their story isn’t unique. Zach’s Dad and Mom divorced. Mom interfered with Dad’s parenting time. Mom told Zach and Zach’s sister that Dad was mean and violent. Zach and his sister behaved badly when they were with Dad. The children were coached to say they wanted nothing to do with him. Dad sent presents and the presents were returned.  A court-ordered five weeks with Dad turned into a few days of drama before Zach and his sister forced their return to Mom’s house. Alienated parents could probably substitute their child’s name for Zach’s and insert his or her name instead of “Zach’s Dad.” As we said in A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, the examples that define parental alienation are remarkably consistent.

The last time Zach saw his Dad was 1991. Zach was 12 years old. During a court-ordered visit the children first refused to leave the airport, then locked themselves in a room at Dad’s house and wouldn’t come out. During the same visit, Zach’s Mom called the police and accused Zach’s Dad of abusing both children. A short time later, Mom and Dad were in court. The judge ruled that Dad didn’t have to pay child support and the children didn’t have to see him if they didn’t want to.

“My earliest memories of my Dad are him trying to visit me and my sister and my Mom not allowing us to have anything to do with him,” Zach remembers. “I was very confused. My Mom kept telling me he was mean and violent and I didn’t know enough about my Dad to know any better.”

All it took, however, was a couple of visits with his Dad for Zach to form a different opinion.

“I saw Dad was not the horrible person Mom said he was. At this point my life became very difficult. I wanted a relationship with him but knew I couldn’t let Mom know because she would be furious. I also felt a sense of loyalty to Mom. I knew she disliked Dad so I felt like if I liked him it would hurt her,” Zach also recalled. 

Zach’s sister complicated his life. She was three years older than Zach and he quickly realized that if he was too nice to Dad when they were together his sister would report back to Mom. “I felt like I couldn’t be myself around him,” Zach indicated. “I felt like I was walking a tightrope.”

Zach’s Mom promised Zach that he wasn’t going to have a relationship with his Dad and she was true to her word. Nine years passed. Zach and his father were living in different states, but for all the contact they had they could have been living on different planets. Mom, now separated from her second husband, moved away.  Zach was in college and returned to Mississippi for the Christmas holiday. Ironically, he was staying with his Step-Dad in the home they had shared when Zach’s Mom and Step-Dad were together. The date was December 31, 1999. While many people were worrying that the Y2K bug would stop the world in its tracks, an alienated Dad in North Carolina picked up a phone and placed a call that would jump-start a relationship that had been dead in its tracks for nine years.

Do you believe miracles can happen for alienated children and parents?  If you do, come back on December 22 and have your faith validated.  If you don’t, come back for a story that may change your mind.

Adult children of parental alienation

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Imagine cutting yourself off from the outside world on July 15, 2000. You’d never know:

  • The Twin Towers are missing from the New York City skyline.
  • George Bush isn’t President of the United States and an African American is.
  • The Dow Jones is 1,300 points higher yet people talk about a recession.
  • The internet is on your cell phone.
  • Kodak no longer makes film for your 35mm camera.
  • There are more Harry Potter movies than books.
  • You could follow a stranger’s thoughts — as long as he or she communicated in 140 characters or less.

Severely alienated children who remain cut off from their targeted parents and extended families years after the alienating parent selfishly pulled the child into the adult conflict are just as in the dark as someone who knows nothing about September 11th or Twitter.   

These now alienated adults refuse the love and attention of their targeted parents and take a pass on meaningful relationships with their aging grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and formerly close family friends. These grown up children intentionally skip making memories that most people cherish.

There are countless adults still alienated from a parent years after everyone else in the family drama moved on with their lives. Perhaps it is easier for them to stay alienated rather than deal with the guilt of accepting a parent who never did anything to warrant the estrangement. Maybe it is easier for them to stay away rather than run the risk of disappointing their alienating parent. Perhaps these alienated adult children are simply too proud to admit that turning away every time the targeted parent tried to heal the rift between them was wrong.

Whatever their reason, these alienated adult children remain in the dark. They don’t know anything about the events and celebrations that define close-knit, loving families. They don’t know anything about the things that comprise one half of who they are. And saddest of all, they don’t even know that they remain stuck in the past while their targeted parents and extended families move forward making more cherished memories.

Wake Up to Parental Alienation

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, discusses the cost of parental alienation with host Melody Brooke on her womensradio.com program, Wake Up Call.

Brooke, a licensed marriage and family therapist, devoted the entire 30-minute progam to helping her listeners understand what drives one parent to damage, and sometimes destroy, a normal, healthy, loving relationship between a child and the child’s other parent.  “Melody sees parental alienation in her practice so she knows how parental alienation, if not addressed quickly and effectively, can have a life-long effect on everyone involved. Devoting her entire 30-minute program to the topic will hopefully help her listeners avoid these devastating consequences,” Jeffries said.

Brooke’s interview with Jeffries can be found at http://www.womensradio.com/episodes/Wake-UP%21-To-the-Cost-of-Parental-Alienation/9782.html.

Alienation education in print and in person

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Understanding parental alienation has never been easier.

The State College Pennsylvania newspaper, Centre Daily Times, highlighted parental alienation this past Saturday in an article from Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation. The article, Keys to Understanding Parental Alienation, can be found at http://www.centredaily.com/2011/05/14/2711994/keys-to-understanding-parental.html. Readers are encouraged to leave comments and explain how parental alienation has affected their lives.

Later this week, Jeffries will join other parental alienation experts at the DePaul Center in Chicago, Illinois to help educate parents, legal and mental health professionals about parental alienation. 

Jeffries will address participants at the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) conference, “The Painful Path of Parental Alienation and Visitation Interference,” on Saturday, May 21. Also speaking at the conference are Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michele Lowrance, the author of The Good Karma Divorce; Attorney Jame Pritikin, who recently helped Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade overcome the attempted alienation of his children; Dr. Michael Bone, a parental alienation expert who has spent the past 25 years dealing with high conflict divorce as a therapist, expert witness, mediator, evaluator and consultant; and Jill Egizii, PAAO President and author of The Look of Love.

The one-day conference begins at 9:00 a.m. in Conference Room 8005 at the DePaul Center in Chicago. The cost is $50 for non-PAAO members and $25 for CRC Illinois PAAO members. Participants can register online at www.paawareness.org/2011PAAOChicagoConference/.

A Family’s Heartbreak author signs up for PAAO Conference

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, is joining other parental alienation experts on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at the DePaul Center in Chicago, Illinois to help educate parents, legal and mental health professionals about parental alienation. 

Jeffries will address participants at the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) conference, “The Painful Path of Parental Alienation and Visitation Interference.” Also speaking at the conference are Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michele Lowrance, the author of The Good Karma Divorce; Attorney Jame Pritikin, who recently helped Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade overcome the attempted alienation of his children; Dr. Michael Bone, a parental alienation expert who has spent the past 25 years dealing with high conflict divorce as a therapist, expert witness, mediator, evaluator and consultant; and Jill Egizii, PAAO President and author of The Look of Love.

“I’m thrilled to join such a great group of knowledgeable and passionate speakers as we help others understand parental alienation and examine strategies for addressing alienation both legally and therapeutically,” Jeffries said. “I’m also proud to support the PAAO. The organization does great work helping others deal with these very heartbreaking situations.”

The one-day conference begins at 9:00 a.m. in Conference Room 8005 at the DePaul Center in Chicago. The cost is $50 for non-PAAO members and $25 for CRC Illinois PAAO members. Participants can register online at www.paawareness.org/2011PAAOChicagoConference/or by mail with a check to Jill Egizii/PAAO at 1645 W. Laurel Street, Springfield, Illinois 62704.

The event is cosponsored by the DePaul Law Center. For more information on the conference you can visit, www.paawareness.org.

Spend Sunday night with Mike Jeffries

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will visit the Internet radio show Co-Parenting Matters, this coming  Sunday, January 23, at 9:30 p.m. EST.

Co-Parenting Matters is a collaborative effort between CoParenting101.org, founded by former spouses Deesha Philyaw and Michael Thomas, and WeParent.com, a site devoted to African-American co-parents, founded by Talibah Mbonisi. Co-Parenting Matters routinely discusses issues such as communication, single parenting, divorce, finances, custody, dating, wellness and stepfamilies.

“The biggest weapon in the fight against parental alienation is summed up in the title of program,” Jeffries said. “Co-parenting not only matters, but if you have effective co-parenting you won’t have parental alienation. I’m looking forward to giving listeners enough information so they can keep the focus on co-parenting and hopefully keep parental alienation out of their family dynamics.”

Listeners can tune in at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coparentingmatters/2011/01/24/parental-alienation-a-familys-heartbreak.

Mike & Mike on the radio

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will be the guest host on the internet radio program Family Matters on Wednesday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m. EST. Jeffries’ guest will be Dr. J. Michael Bone, parental alienation expert and consultant.

Family Matters is a show dedicated to discussing parental alienation, a destructive family dynamic affecting countless children, parents and extended family members every year.

“I’m looking forward to asking Dr. Bone about many of the developments he has seen over the years with respect to how parental alienation is perceived in the courts and among mental health professionals,” Jeffries said. “His article,  Parental Alienation Syndrome: How to Detect It and What to Do About It was one of the earliest and most concise, easy-to-understand descriptions of what I was going through with my family.”

Jeffries is sitting in for regular host, author and Parental Alienation Awareness Organization President Jill Egizii. “I’m used to being interviewed, so it will be fun to ask the questions for a change,” he added.

Family Matters can be heard at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/syndicatednews/2010/11/18/family-matters–hosted-by-michael-jeffries-author-. The call-in phone number is 347-539-5024.

Raising awareness of alienation at the AACAP

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Parental alienation professionals and advocates attended the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) annual meeting in New York City this week to discuss alienation with many of the 4,700 psychiatrists and physicians in attendence and explain why parental alienation belongs in the next edition of the profession’s DSM.

Dr.William Bernet, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the primary author of Parental Alienation DSM-5 and ICD-11, presented at the meeting and the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) raised awareness of alienation in an exhibit hall booth. The PAAO exhibit featured books, DVDs and volunteers to discuss parental alienation with conference attendees. PAAO President Jill Egizii, PAAO Vice President Robert Samery, Dr. Amy Baker, and Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, were all on hand to pass out literature and talk about alienation with mental health professionals from around the world.

Also attending the conference were members of the DSM Review Board — the professionals who will decide whether or not parental alienation is included in the next edition of the DSM. Bernet indicated that the Review Board is still considering alienation for inclusion in the updated diagnostic manual. The DSM-5 is scheduled for release in 2013.

Jeffries observed that while some professionals had never heard of alienation, many others were familiar with the family dynamic. Still other professionals saw alienation in their practices without realizing the behaviors had a name. “The conversations were all over the map,” Jeffries said. “Some attendees wanted to talk about their cases. Other professionals wanted to discuss under what category the DSM-5 could potentially list parental alienation. One psychiatrist was even looking for guidance on who should receive the diagnostic code — the alienating parent, the targeted parent, or the child.”

Not every person who stopped by the PAAO booth wanted to see parental alienation in the DSM-5. “There was one psychiatrist who made it clear he didn’t believe in parental alieantion but he never actually completed a sentence or allowed me to complete one,” Jeffries said. “He said ‘parental alienation is a diagnosis in search of a…’ and then his voice trailed off. When I tried to say something positive, he cut me off with another incomplete, negative comment. Then he did it a third time. I finally told him to enjoy the rest of the conference. With 4,700 open-minded, articulate professionals to talk to there was no need to waste time on him.”

TV and parental alienation — past and present

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

In a week when The Dr. Phil Show features bad parenting by the anti-June and Ward Cleaver in its parental alienation-themed show today, it is worth mentioning that Barbara Billingsley, the actress who played the iconic television Mom June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, died recently in California. She was 94 years old.

According to Jill Egizii, President of the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) and a guest on The Dr. Phil Show, the parents in the family Dr. Phil selected for the program do not co-parent effectively and their poor co-parenting could ultimately result in parental alienation. While Dr. Phil spent most of the program urging the parents to improve their parenting and communication skills, Egizii said she highlighted the affects of parental alienation on children and the PAAO’s work at the end of the program.

Parents and extended family members, as well as legal and mental health professionals, should go to The Dr. Phil Show website at http://www.drphil.com after the episode airs and encourage Dr. Phil and his producers to do programs focused solely on parental alienation. Episodes that explain what drives an alienating parent to damage, and in some cases destroy, his or her child’s relationship with the child’s other parent, and episodes that explore how professionals can legally and therapeutically address alienation, will help families avoid this destructive family dynamic.

If the parents on The Dr. Phil Show are the anti-June and Ward Cleaver, than June and Ward should be the anti-parental alienation parents. In our latest blog post for Basil & Spice at http://www.basilandspice.com/love-and-relationships/category/jeffries-mike, we highlight what divorcing parents can learn from Wally and Beaver’s Mom and Dad — even if they are just fictional characters on a 50-year old television show.

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